Hard cider might be sometimes overlooked as an addition to your holiday bar cart, but when it comes to food pairings – think apple pie, baked Brie with apples and any pork dishes – perhaps nothing pairs better than hard cider.
Not only that, but a good hard cider can be enjoyed on its own or added to a cocktail to create a lower ABV cocktail or to punch up a cocktail.
Here’s a roundup of some delicious hard ciders to add some panache to your festivities.
Blake’s Hard Cider, $10.99-$11.99/6-pack
It’s hard to pick just one hard cider from Blake’s to drink over the holidays. Mule de Pomme and Grand Cherry are great for those who love hard cider but also like to get creative, as these unique hard ciders can be elevated to cocktail level with the addition of alcohol. American Apple and Grand Cherry are nice gifts for those who enjoy a higher ABV drink without the burn of other spirits, while American Apple is a wonderful gift for people who enjoy wine but want to try something more unusual. Each cider is made with a white wine yeast, which means you can drink the cider like a lovely wine.
Meriwether Cider Candied Pecan Cider $10/two 12-oz. Cans
Looking for a super cozy cider that pairs well with holiday treats? Look no further than Meriwether’s Candied Pecan Cider, made with maple syrup pecans from The City Peanut Shop in Boise, ID. Toasted spiced pecans hit your pallet while holidays past hit your memory in a lovely melding of sweet yet spicy reminiscence. If pecans aren’t your thing, try the Blood Orange cider, a sessionable and refreshing cider that’s part of their Meri-Spritzer line, made with cider, sparkling water and blood orange. Another delicious choice would be their award-winning Foothills Semi-Dry Cider, which is reminiscent of champagne.
Schilling Hard Cider $12.99-$14.99/6-pack
Made in America’s Apple State – AKA Washington – Schilling Hard Cider takes advantage of the plentiful rain and mild summers, which produces great apples. Schilling Hard Cider is committed to championing the region’s high-quality artisanal hard ciders and their makers. All of Schilling’s ciders are bold, innovative, and flavor-forward. Using fresh-pressed apples and locally sourced wholesome ingredients — with nothing artificial and no preservatives — these ciders are the perfect for any cider lover. Try London Dry, Pineapple Passionfruit, Spiced Chai or other interesting flavors.
Angry Orchard 2019 Pommeau of Walden, $48/375 ml bottle
If you’re looking for an absolutely exquisite gift to the cider lover in your life, then Pommeau of Walden is what you’ll want to give. This limited edition apple wine is made by blending traditional French bittersweet apples grown at their Walden, NY orchard with eau de vie spirit. Together, they’re aged for three years in French oak, and the resulting silky sipper boasts black cherry almonds and chocolate aromas. Another great gift would be Angry Orchard’s Holiday Cider Bundle. Try Albany Post, which is their first 100 percent estate-made cider; Dear Brittany, which is a love letter to coastal France, or Fruits from Flowers, which is an ode to New York State’s fruits as it is a blend of apples and tart cherries ($75). For easy entertaining, there’s also the Orchard Explorer Variety Pack ($17.99-$21.99).
Bivouac Ciderworks Savoy English Pub Cider, $5/16 oz. can or $18.99/4-pack
Women-owned Bivouac Ciderworks’ Savoy English Pub Apple Cider incorporates high-quality British Dabinett cider apples, widely regarded as the finest cider apple in the world, sourced directly from small farms in the United Kingdom. It’s a drier version of the classic drink you’ll find in every neighborhood pub in London. Savoy is the perfect for both cider-lovers and those new to the beverage and it’s equally well-suited for easy holiday sipping as it is paired with a hearty holiday meal. Other delicious ciders that would enhance your holiday meal include Summit Cider Winter Cherry, with tart cherry, smoked rosemary and vanilla flavors or the San Diego Jam Mixed Berry Cider, which boasts blackberries, blueberries and black currants.
Feels Like Home Craft Hard Cider $9.99/4-pack or $16.99/8-pack
Artifact Cider Project‘s Feels Like Home brand features some ultra-crushable ciders including: Classic, which is a fresh and juicy autumnal favorite that evokes coziness and warmth; Blueberry, which is bursting with real fruit and summery flavors; Double Rum, which is a tropical and bold flavor, and Extra Juicy, which is a golden, full-flavored cider. Packaged in memorable plaid cans, they’ll match most holiday decor, and their deliciousness will match the holiday meal.
Hidden Cave Cidery, Sweet Potato Casserole Hard Cider, $10/16 oz. bottle
This award-winning hard cider has actual, roasted sweet potatoes in it, along with dark brown sugar, nutmeg and marshmallow fluff. “Hidden Cave Cider is great to have on the table because each sip is a reflection of our state’s agriculture,” says Walker Fanning, cider maker and founder. “Every apple variety within the cider is one that is able to grow here and was planted by a Wisconsin farmer.” Other great ciders to grace your holiday table include the Old World Dry, made of more than 30 different heirloom varieties; Chocolate Hazelnut Hard Cider, which is perfect for chocolate lovers, and Poet’s Mead, a strawberry lime smoothie cider, made with a purée of fresh strawberries.
Oliver Winery, Beanblossom Hard Cider, $7/500 ml. bottle
Though Oliver Winery is more famous for its wines, it also makes some great ciders. “Crisp and light, our original Beanblossom cider captures the juices of freshly pressed Midwestern apples,” says Sarah Anderson, director of marketing. “With just the right sweetness, this cider will perfectly compliment any of your holiday favorites.”
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